Afghan unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands: Far away from home and protected?

Carla Buil & Melissa Siegel


This study aims to provide insights into the migration situation of Afghan unaccompanied minors (UAMs) in the Netherlands and the extent to which the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) is respected. This paper contributes to the scarce literature on the largest group of UAMs in the Netherlands and in many European countries. On the basis of participant observation in a UAM campus and interviews with Afghan minors and various stakeholders involved with UAMs the following aspects were analysed in relation to the CRC: reception facilities, standard of living and care, possibilities of education, work and leisure, psychological difficulties and the legal situation. The study found that the Netherlands does well on the reception facilities, the standard of living and care, and the work conditions. Improvements can be made regarding educational opportunities, leisure, mental health care, integration and length of asylum procedure.

Key words: Afghanistan, unaccompanied minors, refugee, asylum seeker, migration

JEL Codes: F22, J13, J15

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